Sun 9th Jan - Mon 10th Jan, 2000
Sobering Up Meet at Ty Powdyr
Present (in order of appearance): Chris Thickett (meet leader), Bob Anderson, Lester Payne, Iain McCallum, Mark Gledhill, Cathy's lump followed closely by Cathy Gordon, Phil Ramsbottom, Andrew Croughton, Chris Williamson, Kevin Anderson, Joan Stewart, John Evans, Vanessa Addison - a total of 9 members, 2 near members, 2 prospective members and one prospective.
The century is only a few days old and already there is revolution in the air. Amongst the nation's treasures the KMC's constitution is especially vulnerable subsequent to an incident during this particular weekend. After returning to the hut on Saturday evening following a satisfying walk, a prospective member - young John from Wolverhampton - produced a cake that he had baked himself only the previous day and presented it to the assembled members and guests. This cake was of such a quality that it has prompted me to put forward an amendment to said constitution at the earliest opportunity. This amendment is to Rule 371(b), Subsection 748(ii)(k), and reads:- after the last full stop on line 176 on page 217 of the Constitution and Rules of the Karabiner Mountaineering Club and before the strawberry jam stain, insert the words "All applicants must produce a cake to the satisfaction of a senior (yet cuddly and unassuming) member of the Club before being considered for membership."
In the meantime, the end of the week did not start well for the meet leader and Uncle Bob. Due to failing memories we thought we would enjoy climbing "Lockwood's Chimney" again on the Friday afternoon. We have now deemed it a climb for young idiots not old ones like us. I knew we were not having fun when Bob, losing upward traction, yet again slithered down the greasy walls of the chimney banging bodily bits, delicate or otherwise, until he landed in a pile of naughty words. There was no laughing! I had got up this section using my well-arranged anatomy in jamming foot and knee across the chasm until I had success and handfuls of cold wet slime in my grasp. Unfortunately, it left me suffering T.K.S. - traumatic knee syndrome. This trauma also affects the weather and the rest of the evening and night was filled with a tempest of wind and rain of terrible proportions. It was during this storm Chris (W) decided to impact test his new car on a sheep - an innocent resident of lovely Deniolen. However, Andrew and Chris agreed that it was not a serious incident as, although the rear end of the sheep was completely destroyed, the front end continued to chew grass.
Eight of us lined up near Glan Dena in the Ogwen valley on Saturday morning to participate in the planned walk. We climbed up the splendid east ridge of Pen yr Ole Wen and then on to Carnedd Dafydd where, in a shelter, the communal chuckling restored the humour and spirits of Bob and myself. From there we skirted the rim of Black Ladders to Carnedd Llewelyn then continued on the plateau north to Foel Grach. Here we were blown off the summit into a sheltered hollow where we had our lunch stop. We had experienced good clear views but an unpleasant, strong and icy wind. Snow cover was limited to small patches of hard snow and ice. In the face of the wind we decided not to walk down the Drosgl ridge towards Bethesda but to descend into the adjacent Caseg valley to arrive at Gerlan where transport arrangements were executed with clockwork precision and remarkable efficiency - you have to be lucky sometime!
Kevin, Joan and Chris (W) all collected a silver star each after they climbed Amphitheatre Arête on Craig yr Ysfa. Joan confided in me that she had led the crux before pulling up the other two. Kevin experimented with a innovative belaying technique when holding down a sling with a sticky turd. It was not one produced by our friends I hasten to add, but one kindly donated by a previous party on the climb.
Mark and Cathy took her lump for a walk up the valley above Llanberis and to the north-west of Snowdon. Recently seen on the top of Glyder Fawr, this lump, now eight and a half months in the making, did cause us some concern throughout the weekend. We constantly had hot water and clean towels to hand but nobody had a clue what to do with them if required. Only the meet leader, himself, would admit to any experience in these matters, having once applied gas and air to the top end whilst joining the chorus of "Push! Push!" to accompany each contraction at the other. There is nothing to this childbirth lark really.
On Saturday evening everyone gathered round the glow of the fire in the lounge. Kevin led a lively discussion on whether or not we should continue the custom of sinking our teeth into flesh - without mentioning whose in particular. In a menopausal doze in a corner of the room, I reflected sadly that my only chance is cooked meat these days. However, with the heat of that fire, I optimistically half-opened an eye when I was sure I could smell some pork beginning to roast.
The weather on Sunday continued to be wintry, although the wind appeared to have moderated slightly. Occasionally a short winter hail shower was shovelled down on our heads. Iain, Lester, Mark and Cathy decided on activities based at or near the hut.
A party consisting of Bob, Phil, Andrew and Chris times two, scrambled progressively up Introductory Gully, Idwal Buttress and Cneifon Arête in the Idwal area. It proved a very worthwhile expedition especially in the prevailing conditions. In the meantime, the four others were climbing on the Slabs. John and Vanessa were enthusiastic about their ascent of the Ordinary Route whilst Kevin and Joan spent an interesting day studying a combination of tribology and Newtonian physics on nearby Hope.
Without trying to be too serious, I must thank everyone who turned up for their splendid company and their individual efforts in making the meet such a enjoyable and successful event. It was, after all, the best meet so far this century!
On Saturday, I hope to lead a point-to-point walk, perhaps on the Carnedds and on Sunday I will be going scrambling or even climbing. The details are secret at the moment - even from me! You can come along and do whatever you want as long as it's legal.
In the evening there will be plenty of time for intellectual discourse to keep us laughing. Oh! With reference to the name of the meet - well in order to sober up then first you have to get ....